The great thing about saving money is that anyone can do it, no matter how much money they make. The bad thing about saving money, is that hardly anyone does it, that’s why the United States has one of the lowest savings rates of all developed nations. In fact, the average American saves less than 4% of their earnings each year.
If you’ve determined to start a savings plan, if nothing else just to get an emergency fund, then there are some things you have to do to start saving your money today.
For starters, you must get serious about saving money. In other words, make saving a priority. Instead of going through the month hoping that you have some money left to put away, you should start the month by putting money away, and then try to make it through the month on the remaining money.
Also, the only way money can be saved is if less money is spent each month than what you bring in. And to save even more money, you obviously need to spend less. The problem here is that it’s very hard to spend less money each month. We see most things in our life as fixed and don’t even consider many discretionary things as expendable. For example, is paying $150 a month for cable really worth it? Do you really need a cell phone and a home phone? Is buying a new car worth extending your monthly payments indefinitely into the future? Especially when your current car isn’t that old and is almost paid for? There are many questions like this that you have to ask yourself before you can start making the right financial decisions.
And if you start spending more wisely, how can you measure your success? Besides being able to watch your savings account grow, you should get financially organized. For most of us, that means creating a budget template or finding some online budget tool to keep your finances organized. By keeping track of your finances and analyzing where your money is being spent, you can often gain insight into your spending habits that you were blind to before using a budget.
Give budgeting a try and see if it can help you start saving more money today.
For those looking for more ideas on how to make saving easier, we found these ideas from frugalliving.about.com:
1. Set Up Auto-Draft
Keep saving simple by taking yourself out of the equation. Use your bank’s auto-draft feature to schedule regular transfers from your checking account to your savings account. Then, sit back; and let the bank handle all of the details for you.
2. Hang onto Your Change
Saving change is far from a new idea, but there’s a reason for that: it works. Make a habit of emptying all of your change into a jar each night. Then, deposit the money into a savings account whenever the jar is full.
To boost your savings even further, make a game out of looking for coins in parking lots. It’s even more fun to save, when you’re saving someone else’s money.
3. Save Your Rebates
Do you participate in a lot of rebate offers? If so, consider depositing all of your rebate checks into a savings account. You aren’t likely to miss the money, but you are likely to enjoy getting those savings statements in the mail.
4. Bank Your Raise
Receive a raise at work? Try not to think of it as an opportunity to super-size your lifestyle, but an opportunity to super-size your savings. Increase your 401(k) savings by the amount of your raise, or set up an auto-draft to do the same. Then, keep trucking on with your current lifestyle.
5. Hide Your Money
Accessible money is money that’s likely to get spent. Keep your savings out of reach by depositing it at a different bank than your checking account–the extra hassle will make you think twice about spending it.
This article can be found at http://frugalliving.about.com/od/moneymanagement/tp/Simple_Saving.htm.
Most of these ideas are of a different nature than ours, but are still good ideas. These focus on things to do to make saving automatic and ways to fool yourself into thinking you don’t have as much money (like hiding it). While some of these methods may not work for me, they may work for you, especially if you like to use mind tricks to help you get things done.
Whatever you decide, I hope you find something here helpful in your quest to start saving. Please leave us a comment with any other ideas you have or with things that work for you.